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After school activities and burnout

For millions of parents around the world, the day does not end with the school bell. There are still pictures to be painted, songs to be sung and games to be played. This all adds up to keeping children happy, safe and out of trouble. But, parents have to steer away from going overboard.

After school is not baby-sitting:
After school activities thrive only if it is backed by sufficient parental involvement. What would a soccer match be without parents cheering their little heroes from the sidelines?.

Research and choose:
Instead of convenience being the decisive factor, find out things that will interest your child. Once you select a program, get the fine print and find out what you have to contribute.

Free time:
Many children attend piano classes, followed by ballet and squeeze in some time for play dates in between just before they rush home in time for bed. This rigor is too much for a child. So, go slow.

When to quit:
Often, parents enroll their child in an activity to discover that he may not be the prodigy they thought he would be. This is the time to let go. Your child may not become the next wonder-kid. But, let him cultivate an interest that he enjoys. Remember, happiness and fulfillment are all that matter.

After school activities and relationship building

After school activities are the rage of the day. With about $500 million
invested in these programs and more than 10 million children attending
them in America alone, the popularity of these activities cannot be
overlooked. Everyone understands the need to develop new skills, gain more
knowledge and keep the children safe when parents are working.

The most important factor in the success of any program is the
relationship between the children participating in the program and the
adult members who work with these children. Often, children may confide in
an adult member who is not a teacher. This kind of emotional interaction
is a must when children are struggling to make sense of the whirlpool of
emotions that assail them.

Direct contact with professionals can be an inspiring experience. Children
are very much impressed by the knowledge and experience of these adults.
Young people gain a lot of knowledge and experience when they deal with
experienced adults and older youth who serve as teachers or mentors in
these programs. These mentors are different from the teachers in the
school and children are more likely to draw inspiration from them.

After school activities that are managed professionally by people who are
successful in their own fields of expertise will produce children who are
more enthusiastic and successful. Meaningful interaction with adults is a
learning experience in itself.

After school activities for the overweight

Research and studies show that our children are growing fater by the
day. Many families all over America are struggling to keep the weight of
their children within reasonable limits. As a parent, I know that it's
nearly impossible for me to look into the tear-filled eyes of my son and
refuse food.

So, what's the alternative? Studies show that the number one reason for
obesity in children is not junk food and colas. It's actually TV.
Children tend to plop themselves on the sofa and munch away happily when
they are in front of the TV sets. But, once the set is off, their natural
buoyancy will lead the children to do stuff and to move their body. THey will then be diverted from eating.

Recreational after school activities are a must if you feel that your
child is beginning to put on undesirable fat. It is better to begin these
activities as early as possible. The more weight the child gains, the
harder he has to work to shed it. Football, swimming, skating and Karate
are just some activities he can participate in. Structured and disciplined
exercise is possible only when one is put into a formal environment. That
is why an overweight child simply HAS to be put into an after school
program of this kind.

After school activity for the hyperactive child

ADHD refers to attention-deficit-hyperactivity-disorder. Most children who
suffer from this disorder suffer from attention problems as well as hyperactivity. Parents of such children are well aware that inattention and hyperactivity continue throughout the day. Keeping such children busy after school hours can be as difficult as keeping them safe during the school day.

The first step while choosing the right after school activity for your child is to understand how ADHD affects him. Is your child interested in sports? Is he put off by the fierce competitiveness, or does he find it hard to get along with teammates? Does your child vocalize his feelings, or is communication a problem?

For a child suffering from ADHD, physical exercise is always beneficial. Exercise takes up the extra energy and helps to stimulate the brain. Team activities teach social skills and discipline. But, if your child shies away from team sports, you may want to look at activities like dancing, cycling, swimming or gymnastics. Martial arts not only teach techniques of self-defense but also teach self-control and patience.

If your child shows aversion to sport and shows inclination towards the fine arts, you may need to look at some other options. Acting classes are a wonderful form of creative exercise. It also provides the child with ample opportunity to develop his social skills. Music, art or dance can help the child to keep himself busy and entertained.

In case the child is not interested in any of the above, you may want him to join a Boy Scouts club or other community oriented clubs that take up social work. Cleaning a park, putting on a show, helping out in an old age home are various activities that may pique your child's interest.

Whatever form of activity you choose, make sure that you monitor your child's progress periodically. If you feel that there is no progress, you may need to change the activity. Anything that increases your child's self-esteem is good. You may enlist the help of the coach or teacher to assess your child's development.

There are certain activities that are detrimental to a child suffering from ADHD. Computer and video games are a definite NO. Since these games need no interaction, children will feel all the more isolated. These children also find it difficult to distinguish between the good and the bad messages. They may therefore show an inclination to stick to messages that are not needed. Games that need the child to sit and wait for his turn patiently tax his patience and will not be a success.

Although you would want these children to be as near to normal as possible, understanding their needs and limits will help you select the right after school activity - one that is fulfilling, tiring as well as challenging.